Monday, May 19, 2008

Day 71: The Stephanopoulos Watch and the Ban on Brown

This Week with George Stephanopoulos continues to deny Hispanic journalists and notables a spot on his show's roundtable segment.

I wrote about the problem a couple of months ago for Hispanic Link News Service. It is run by the great Charlie Ericksen, an NAHJ Hall of Fame member. George and ABC News wouldn't respond to my repeated attempts to ask "why" and what has now become a Ban on Brown.

This past Sunday, George featured a New York Times editorial writer on the panel. And of course, white males are very difficult to find to comment on the news. Yet there was a much more qualified editorial writer for the panel, from the best newspaper in America. She is a former Clinton administration speech writer, ambassador to Belize and writer and producer for Nightline with Ted Koppel. Carolyn Curiel also has been on The Times editorial board since 2002. She writes on local government, social issues, national trends and environment.

Carolyn Curiel is a child of Mexican parents and grew up in Hammond, Ind. She is a graduate of Purdue University, just like my wife. Go Boilers!

While George and ABC may consider my point to be one of political correctness, it actually ties into getting the needs and issues of Hispanics noticed by this nation. For instance, the immigration raid on Postville by federal authorities wasn't even mentioned on the show. The 287(g) deportation program wasn't mentioned on the show. Nothing of the inhumanity that so many Hispanic families are enduring across this nation was mentioned on the show.

And these issues won't be adequately addressed, let alone noticed, until there is a Hispanic contributor on This Week's roundtable segment. That's why our representation on panels on political TV shows is so important in raising national awareness. David Gregory's show on MSNBC -- an outlet noted for its in-your-face liberalism -- didn't feature a Hispanic voice on its political panel last Friday.

Give CNN and what really is "the best political team on television" credit for at least featuring two second-row Hispanic analysts on their election night coverage. But the two analysts are Republican strategists! Most Hispanics, particularly Mexican-Americans, vote Democratic. So CNN is giving a false image of Hispanic politics.

If we as Hispanics and advocates are going to get the nation to take notice of the outrages of the Postville Raid and the 287(g) deportation program in places like Nashville, then we must call up or e-mail and complain to the TV networks about the lack of Hispanic voices as panelists. Our blogs telling each other about the outrages will not create the needed political masse for change.

Let's start with ABC and This Week with George Stephanopoulos to make this point about the inclusion of Hispanic voices. Don't bother to try and call George, he is always indisposed. But e-mail Ask for her to reply to you and my contentions. It is always much better to be criticized than ignored. Please send an e-mail today.

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